— Originally posted on Yelp on 3/7/10 —

This place was a lot of fun. It reminded me of partying in Cancun or some other touristy spot in Mexico. But, I guess that’s their goal — to bring the party north of the border from their original location in Ensenada. I had never heard of the original, but according to their web site they created the margarita. Who knew?

The Vegas location is right next to Burger Bar in Mandalay Place. It’s a narrow but long restaurant filled with typical art and tchotchkes that you would associate with an ‘authentic’ Mexican restaurant. Like a latin American version of Friday’s but not as over the top. While this place screams ‘tourist trap’ it was still rocking. With their roaming mariachi band belting out versions of Garth Brooks, Beyonce, and Sponge Bob songs and the shot girls looking ever so sexy and peddling shots straight from a bottle, it’s hard not to have a good time.

Our group of ten had a reservation for Saturday night and were seated right away when we arrived. The pitchers of margaritas were good and strong and the food was much better than expected. The chips were excellent and tasted like they were made in-house. Everyone in our group loved the food — the tacos, sopes, soup, nachos, and carne asada were great. The churros were served with dulce de leche ice cream and were very tasty.

Service was excellent as well. Our waiter (tall white guy w/ dark hair) was friendly and attentive. We didn’t have to wait long for drinks or food,  water glasses were constantly being filled, and empty dishes were cleared quickly. For some reason some of the staff was wearing fake white mustaches. Not sure if this is part of their usual get-up but it added to the silliness of the place. Because nothing says ‘authentic Mexican’ like a hot girl bartender wearing a mustache.

It’s a great place to throw back some drinks, eat some good Mexican food and party like you’re south of the border.

5 Stars

— Updated below: 8/29/10 —

I’m knocking this place down to 3 stars. The food wasn’t nearly as good this time around as my previous two visits. The base of the sope seemed thicker and chewier than before and the chicken and carnitas toppings were overcooked and dry. The lobster tacos were stuffed with lettuce, cotija cheese, sour cream and other stuff that I could barely taste any lobster. Less ingredients would have made this a much better dish. The chicken flautas were so bone dry and overcooked that they were pretty much inedible.

Overall, it was a real disappointment considering we enjoyed their food previously. The service was also a little spotty, but it seemed like there weren’t enough waitresses for all of the tables. The food is overpriced, so if you go make sure you get a gift certificate from http://restaurant.com.

3 Stars

3930 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89119
(702) 553-0123

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